Some blog spots have declared the release of the DRAFT Environmental Impact Study of the ORV driving issue a win-win for everyone. I assume those commenting have read all 800 pages of this release, plotted out the maps of where we can and cannot drive during the course of the year, and read the early press releases from the environmental and pro-ORV driving sites. But, I suspect that's not the case.
I have been wading through this report ever so slowly. On the other hand, the Audubon Society has already released an early opinion, and one is left with the feeling there might be yet another lawsuit in the offing...as described on the Audubon site:
The preferred alternative announced today falls short of the U.S. Department of Interior’s own scientists’ recommendations regarding the measures needed to protect wildlife within the national park.
“We look forward to working with the park service to ensure compliance with legal and scientific requirements to guarantee adequate space and protections for pedestrians and wildlife, while still allowing responsible beach driving in some areas, so that all visitors can fully enjoy this national treasure,” said Julie Youngman, senior attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center. “The final rules should improve public access to the beaches for pedestrians and people with disabilities by adding boardwalks, parking spaces and public facilities to enhance visitor enjoyment in balance with wildlife conservation efforts.”
The park service’s preferred plan in today’s proposal sets aside only 16 miles of the 68 miles of seashore year-round as non-ORV areas for pedestrians, families, and wildlife.
Not as pretty as some hope. The bold areas indicate areas of potential concern, especially the last paragraph, which expresses displeasure with the "small" amount of beach banned year-round, the call for adding more boardwalks and pedestrian areas, and the use of the term "some" in regards to ORV access.
So, while this writer thinks the preferred NPS plan is a good one, he will review the report in its entirety first. And, he will wait and see if the S.E.L.C. and their financial backers go back to court or pressure the NPS to fall back to a "non-preferred" alternative. Based on the double talk above, we're not sanguine. Until then, the cartoon at the top of this blog reflects my view...